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Babel-on-the-Bay: Can Trudeau open the sepulchres of government?

Can Canadians have an open government? Do we want one? Can Trudeau deliver it? They are all good questions. The problem inherent in the questions is Justin Trudeau’s understanding of how Ottawa really works. He might be biting off far more than his limited experience can handle. Of note is the fact that Justin’s father […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Can Trudeau open the sepulchres of government?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario Premier Wynne wins India.

Patrick Brown MPP eat your heart out. You are no longer India’s darling. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has won the media wars in the world’s largest democracy. In homophobic India, a lesbian politician from Canada was a big hit. It never occurred to us Canadians that Kathleen Wynne taking her husband Jane with her was […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Ontario Premier Wynne wins India.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau takes strike one on Senate solution.

He has to admit he was warned. The only people cheering the current dumb idea are the sycophants around him. Prime Minister Trudeau cannot use elitism to choose elites. Canadian senators need to be reasonably experienced politicos. And who knows politicos best but their own political parties. That is why the prime minister of the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Trudeau takes strike one on Senate solution.

Babel-on-the-Bay: By way of apology to our Barrie Whigs.

This is about as close as Babel-on-the-Bay can come to an apology. For the life of this blog, we have tended to disparage a faction of the local Liberals in Barrie. Calling them Whigs was not a compliment. (Whigs are Liberals about 100 years out of date.) This change of heart needs an explanation. It […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: By way of apology to our Barrie Whigs.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Surely the media can do better!

We know the news media are desperate to find something to complain about with our new prime minister. They are just missing by a mile with their silly ‘nanny-gate’ huffing and puffing. This is no Gotcha. The simple question is do you want our prime minister to have appropriate household staff or not? Are we […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Surely the media can do better!

Babel-on-the-Bay: They want the show and substance too.

“My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends – it gives a lovely light!” Edna St. Vincent Millay – 1892 to 1950 Listen up boys and girls, what you see, is what you get. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not his father. Justin […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: They want the show and substance too.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is the media the measure?

Commentator Chantal Hébert worries that Justin Trudeau lacks the gravitas of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Thomas Walkom fears Trudeau is out of touch with the world leaders who have decided Russia’s Putin is a good guy after all. And we discussed Rosie DiManno yesterday who thinks Justin is juvenile. And those people write for […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Is the media the measure?

Babel-on-the-Bay: Can this be Canada’s Camelot?

They came out into the sunlight from Rideau Hall. They are the 15 women and 16 men who now serve Canada. They sit at the Round Table of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And who will ever forget that when asked why the equal number of men and women in his cabinet, Justin Trudeau replied, “Because it is 2015.”

In two years Canada will be 150 years in the making. In this year, it has moved forward a century. It has moved from an oligarchy towards a democracy. It is returning to its world citizenship, to peace and caring and (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: A fine, feminine cabinet

Good to see that Prime Minister Trudeau (haven’t said that for a while) has kept an important promise and formed a gender-balanced cabinet. He said his cabinet would reflect Canada and a 50-50 male/female cabinet does just that.

Not surprisingly, some detractors insist that cabinet appointments should be made strictly on merit. They never have, of course. Other factors have always been

Bill Longstaff: PR—an essential first step

Our brand spanking new Liberal government has promised us electoral reform. Specifically, it is “committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Assuming the new system will provide proportional representation, this would be an essential first step in ensuring that all Canadians are fairly represented in their

Bill Longstaff: PR—an essential first step

Our brand spanking new Liberal government has promised us electoral reform. Specifically, it is “committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Assuming the new system will provide proportional representation, this would be an essential first step in ensuring that all Canadians are fairly represented in their governance.

Michal Rozworski: Canada missed the memo: it’s OK to talk about inequality and capitalism

There is no political rocket science to the Oct. 19th election result. Even with our slanted first-past-the-post system, it would have been difficult for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to squeak out a parliamentary majority, or even minority, given that more than two-thirds of the population wanted him out.

If vague notions of change played the lead role in the long campaign, then the economy wrote the script for much of the rest. The Liberals won, while the others lost, on economic issues.

Since the global crisis of 2007-08, most of us have seen stagnation in incomes and living standards. The past (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Canada comes over from the dark side.

It is a night and day comparison. Stephen Harper embodied the Darth Vader of Canadian politics. Liberal Justin Trudeau is bringing us into the light. He promised Canadians the change that was so badly needed and they followed him. And we can assure you that he is not Pierre Trudeau redux. Justin Trudeau is a very different person.

This realization came five years ago when we were arranging a dinner for the young Member of Parliament and Barrie Liberals. This writer and the wife both had a chance to just sit and chat with him. We came to the same (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Sunny ways and other thoughts on the election

The Dark Age is over. The wicked witch of Calgary is gone. And Justin Trudeau has promised he will lead according to Sir Wilfred Laurier’s “sunny way.” Guided by the PM-elect’s “positive, optimistic, hopeful vision” rather than by Harper’s paranoia, the country will be a much happier place to inhabit.

I had hoped for a minority government; however, all in all I can live with a Liberal majority.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Running for the Roses.

The horses have rounded the final curve and it is a straight run to the finish line. It is a time when jockeys whisper, whip or whine to encourage their mount. It is when the handicappers close their eyes and shudder at the possible outcomes of their folly. That damn horse is running as hard as he or she can and cannot hear your prayers.

Nor can God. The late Senator Keith Davey used to tell us though that if your numbers are above 35 per cent and rising just before election day, you were heading for a majority win. (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: A minority progressive government would be the best result of the election

I wouldn’t dare to be so bold as to play the prophet and predict the shape of the government that will result from Monday’s federal election. Polls and electorates are much too fickle. I can only observe that if the polls are accurate and the electorate doesn’t suddenly change its collective mind, after the Governor General has been duly consulted and all the other dust has settled the best bet

Babel-on-the-Bay: With thanks to the Hair.

This has been the weekend for firming up the opinions and decisions on our federal election in Canada. We are in the last week of a long and exhausting campaign. And it is all thanks to the Hair. He set the election date. He called for the writ early in an attempt to beggar the other parties. He put his ideology ahead of the concerns of Canadians. It is all contributing to the downfall of the Hair. We can thank the perpetrator for the outcome.

From a position of almost total control of the campaign two months ago, the Hair (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: Six Ways That the Greens Are Canada’s Most Progressive Party

In the midst of a campaign dominated by horse races and attack ads, by fear and scandal and appeals to our basest political instincts, it is easy to forget that elections are meant above all to be about policy. Which party offers the kindest, most equitable, and most sustainable vision for the country?

The answer, in my opinion, is clear. Here I present six important ways that the Green Party of Canada is the most progressive of our major national parties.

1. Climate

Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation, one that is inextricably linked to our well-being (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The blatant bigotry of the Hair.

The Hair had the support of the Bloc’s Gilles Duceppe in promoting bigotry the other evening. In the last of the badly arranged debate sessions of the 2015 election, Canadians saw their prime minister backed by a separatist asking for votes from bigots. It was probably the most tragic display of the election and nothing was solved by it only being in French and on the ATV television network controlled by Péquiste Leader Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s Quebecor.

And the Hair could not find a more fertile audience for his bigotry. When you spend the longest political campaign in recent Canadian history (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Nostalgia for the era of the monster rally.

As the ground game became more important in Canadian politics during the second half of the 20th Century, the monster rallies for the major parties lost their importance. The work involved in mounting the rallies took too much away from the ridings that needed the workers at the voters’ doors. There was a time though when we thought the rallies were worth it.

It was always risky but Liberals kept filling Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto through the sixties and the seventies. No precise information was ever given out but it was between 35 and 45 thousand tickets that (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: They say all politics are local.

That might not be the way Americans say it but Americans do not worry much about syntax (such as the use of a plural verb with a plural subject). This thought occurred to us the other evening while sitting in a very uncomfortable students’ chair in a lecture hall at Georgian College here in Barrie. If we had known how uncomfortable those seats could be, we would never have agreed years ago to giving back-to-back lectures to business and commerce students delivered over two 50-minute periods.

But we were there on the students’ side because the City Hall Council Chambers (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: NDP attacks Trudeau—Harper grins

As I was about to mail another donation to the NDP earlier this week, I encountered the following headline on the CBC website: “NDP sets sights on Trudeau in bid to recapture momentum.” No doubt the headline put a large grin on Stephen Harper’s face. It put a large frown on mine. Wonderful, I thought, my party is now collaborating with the Conservatives to undermine their fellow progressives.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Turning the corner on the 2015 election.

There are many wonderful readers of Babel-on-the-Bay. The other day one of our stalwarts sent an e-mail saying how warming it was to read that the Harper government is toast. Obviously some of the Conservative readers caught a bit of a chill in the words but so far nobody has argued. The best news is that Babel-on-the-Bay’s Morning Line forecast is falling into place. With just eight days until voters can start to give their opinion, the election is about to produce the expected result.

Despite the statistical possibility that the Conservatives could win the largest number of seats on (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Jason Kenney is showing his fear.

Any political apparatchik has to handle his or her share of losses. You can keep winning for a while and then you have to take one on the chin. It is how you handle that loss that shows what you are made of. That is why we have come to the conclusion that Calgary Tory candidate Jason Kenney is not made of the right stuff. He is showing fear. He is striking out wildly. He is looking like he is made of Jell-O made with too much water—little flavour, no substance.

Kenney must miss John Baird, the other member of (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Why this Dipper is voting Liberal in Calgary Centre

Liberals have been screwing Calgary for a long time. When one hears this, one’s thoughts immediately turn to Trudeau senior and his National Energy Program. But it started long before that. Back in the beginning in fact. When Alberta became a province in 1905, Frank Oliver, Edmonton newspaper publisher and Liberal MP, persuaded Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier to make his hometown the capital of